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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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My 16 year old boy spends far too much time on his laptop and

Customer Question

My 16 year old boy spends far too much time on his laptop and iPhone. He is also huge on gaming online. We do not see any signs of drugs, smoking, alcohol, etc. but his grades are hovering at C level and we know he is capable of so much more. He actively participates in sports but does not really excel there either--although he could if he put more effort. All around he just seems content with mediocrity. His older brother was a top academic achiever and top athlete so he has had to live in that shadow. We just do not know how to inspire him. Should we take all his electronics away? until he gets these grades at A-B level. His tests are A level--but he fails to turn his homework in which brings his grades down. Signed: Frustrated Mom!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 2 years ago.

Rafael Morales Toia :

This is a very common scenario for teenagers parents. Very frustrating too.

Customer:

What are you advising?

Rafael Morales Toia :

Your son could not be doing drugs or other visible dysfunctional behaviors but, he is already presenting addictive behavior to pc- portable devices with internet access and games, and such is not an easy things but a serious concern.

Customer:

What do you suggest we do?

Rafael Morales Toia :

You are absolutely right about how his brother’s performance could play a role in the pressure he experiences for excelling too.


Set and maintain clear and consistent rules and compensations, increasing the severity of them if he relapses and setting goals higher, mainly a or Bs, but not Cs. Do not offer further incentives even less a car until he shows consistency respecting rules and boundaries you set around pc, games and iphone.

Rafael Morales Toia :

Motivate him to perform better, to get more involved in healthy, productive an enjoyable activities not relates =d to the addictive behaviors.

Rafael Morales Toia :

And do not allow any form of manipulation about rules and consequences. He should know that if the same fault happens, the consequence would be higher and gaining trust back and benefits harder too.

Customer:

That is really hard these days. These kids all relate on line today. Its not like when we grew up and kids came over to the house. they all meet up on line. Do we do this cold-turkey--everything goes? or one at a time?

Rafael Morales Toia :

He needs to learn that no activity should be excessive, otherwise it gets unhealthy, even more when he is neglecting al his core areas of life from academics to socialization and family sharing, fundamental for his development and growth as a healthy and fulfilled person.

Rafael Morales Toia :

First you and your husband need to talk about it and get clear about core rules and consequences you would implement. Then you both talk with him and let him know everything and how now it’s up to him what he gets.

Customer:

That makes sense when you put it that way. Unfortunately, I think we have spoiled our son and we need to get a lot tougher.

Rafael Morales Toia :

If he truly appreciates and wants to benefit from technology but in a healthy and acceptable way, then no problem just need to respect limits and comply with responsibilities. If he doesn’t then he chooses not to have those benefits.

Customer:

Thats a great way of putting it. Good advice. Thank you. Is there anything else you would like to add? I wish we would have put these boundaries on earlier. It almost feels too late.

Rafael Morales Toia :

Oh! I see, then that’s it. You got he spoiled, so now undergoing the consequences. This is going to take real conflict at home, but necessary and constructive one if you truly get control of things and start repairing past mistakes instead of enabling them. He would negatively react to it, but he is smart, he would not sabotage himself, so would try to manipulate but you would be consistent, and truly supportive but no in a codependent way.

Rafael Morales Toia :

He is 16! It is not too late, it is tough now but not too late if you truly stick to work on things, both of you.

Customer:

Do you think we should seek family counseling. I have gone to the school but those counselors are so over worked with bigger concerns it got no where.

Customer:

I just do not want him to totally rebel on us. I was a very rebellious teen...and at the end of the day he is a good kid at home. At least with gaming I know exactly where he is at all times.

Rafael Morales Toia :

Please consider professional counseling support for coping with it and improving parenting, and also for him to develop more assertiveness and make necessary changes. I would suggest individual sessions for him to work on this issue and collateral-family sessions for you to work on parenting, communication and an action plan to make things work better for all of you.

Rafael Morales Toia :

The huge risk of that is that you end fooling yourself believing it is not as bad as other unhealthy addictions, so enabling what is already dysfunctional. Remember, this issue is pushing you to awake to reality and face the fact that you have spoiled your son, and that is truly serious , and goes beyond a game-internet addiction, that’s what I call a potential for psycho-emotionally disable person since unable to hold accountability, respect and consider other peoples’ feelings and to choose in assertive ways without external pressure. This is what spoiling into young adulthood leads to.

Rafael Morales Toia :

You need to choose between keeping things the way they are, so no conflicts at all, everybody smiling now but then facing serious life issues in your son’s life as an adult or. Real but constructive conflicts now redirecting what is distorted so promoting the very ground for a healthy and fulfilled adult.

Customer:

Thank you very much you have been helpful. I really mean that. I will be discussing this with my husband.

Rafael Morales Toia :

Both parents need to work on it with only one approach and professional counseling is ideal to facilitate this process and assertively cope with the challenges it implies.

Rafael Morales Toia :

Good!

Rafael Morales Toia :

Thank you for being this honest and open here.

Rafael Morales Toia :

Go for it, it is tough but necessary and absolutely worthy!

Customer: !









$15 - My 16 year old boy spends far too much time on his...



Asked on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 10:07 - Awaiting Customer Action





:

My 16 year old boy spends far too much time on his laptop and iPhone. He is also huge on gaming online. We do not see any signs of drugs, smoking, alcohol, etc. but his grades are hovering at C level and we know he is capable of so much more. He actively participates in sports but does not really excel there either--although he could if he put more effort. All around he just seems content with mediocrity. His older brother was a top academic achiever and top athlete so he has had to live in that shadow. We just do not know how to inspire him. Should we take all his electronics away? until he gets these grades at A-B level. His tests are A level--but he fails to turn his homework in which brings his grades down. Signed: Frustrated Mom!



Already Tried:
Talking to him. Taking things away for a time and that works but then when he gets his laptop and phone back he falls back into bad habits again. Now he wants to start driving and we not allowing that unless he maintains a B in all his classes.

Urgency: Medium
Level of Detail: Medium

Sent to Parenting Experts on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 10:07




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Member Since: 2/15/2012

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Rafael Morales Toia says:

3/13/12 10:14 AM



This is a very common scenario for teenagers parents. Very frustrating too.






10:13 AM


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10:14 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




10:14 AM


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10:14 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




<div class="JA_chatMsgAuthor"Customersays:

10:14 AM



What are you advising?






Rafael Morales Toia says:

3/13/12 10:16 AM



Your son could not be doing drugs or other visible dysfunctional behaviors but, he is already presenting addictive behavior to pc- portable devices with internet access and games, and such is not an easy things but a serious concern.






10:15 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:15 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




10:15 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:16 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




<div class="JA_chatMsgAuthor"Customersays:

10:16 AM



What do you suggest we do?






10:16 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:16 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




10:17 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:17 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




Rafael Morales Toia says:

3/13/12 10:19 AM



You are absolutely right about how his brother’s performance could play a role in the pressure he experiences for excelling too.


Set and maintain clear and consistent rules and compensations, increasing the severity of them if he relapses and setting goals higher, mainly a or Bs, but not Cs. Do not offer further incentives even less a car until he shows consistency respecting rules and boundaries you set around pc, games and iphone.






10:18 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:18 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




10:19 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:19 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




Rafael Morales Toia says:

3/13/12 10:21 AM



Motivate him to perform better, to get more involved in healthy, productive an enjoyable activities not relates =d to the addictive behaviors.






10:20 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:20 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




Rafael Morales Toia says:

3/13/12 10:22 AM



And do not allow any form of manipulation about rules and consequences. He should know that if the same fault happens, the consequence would be higher and gaining trust back and benefits harder too.






10:21 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:21 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




<div class="JA_chatMsgAuthor"Customersays:

10:21 AM



That is really hard these days. These kids all relate on line today. Its not like when we grew up and kids came over to the house. they all meet up on line. Do we do this cold-turkey--everything goes? or one at a time?






10:22 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:22 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




10:22 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




Rafael Morales Toia says:

3/13/12 10:24 AM



He needs to learn that no activity should be excessive, otherwise it gets unhealthy, even more when he is neglecting al his core areas of life from academics to socialization and family sharing, fundamental for his development and growth as a healthy and fulfilled person.






10:23 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




10:24 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




Rafael Morales Toia says:

3/13/12 10:26 AM



First you and your husband need to talk about it and get clear about core rules and consequences you would implement. Then you both talk with him and let him know everything and how now it’s up to him what he gets.






10:24 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




10:24 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




<div class="JA_chatMsgAuthor"Customersays:

10:24 AM



That makes sense when you put it that way. Unfortunately, I think we have spoiled our son and we need to get a lot tougher.






10:25 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




Rafael Morales Toia says:

3/13/12 10:26 AM



If he truly appreciates and wants to benefit from technology but in a healthy and acceptable way, then no problem just need to respect limits and comply with responsibilities. If he doesn’t then he chooses not to have those benefits.






10:26 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:26 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




<div class="JA_chatMsgAuthor"Customersays:

10:26 AM



Thats a great way of putting it. Good advice. Thank you. Is there anything else you would like to add? I wish we would have put these boundaries on earlier. It almost feels too late.






10:27 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




Rafael Morales Toia says:

3/13/12 10:29 AM



Oh! I see, then that’s it. You got he spoiled, so now undergoing the consequences. This is going to take real conflict at home, but necessary and constructive one if you truly get control of things and start repairing past mistakes instead of enabling them. He would negatively react to it, but he is smart, he would not sabotage himself, so would try to manipulate but you would be consistent, and truly supportive but no in a codependent way.






10:27 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




10:28 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




Rafael Morales Toia says:

3/13/12 10:30 AM



He is 16! It is not too late, it is tough now but not too late if you truly stick to work on things, both of you.






10:28 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




<div class="JA_chatMsgAuthor"Customersays:

10:29 AM



Do you think we should seek family counseling. I have gone to the school but those counselors are so over worked with bigger concerns it got no where.






10:29 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:29 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




<div class="JA_chatMsgAuthor"Customersays:

10:30 AM



I just do not want him to totally rebel on us. I was a very rebellious teen...and at the end of the day he is a good kid at home. At least with gaming I know exactly where he is at all times.






Rafael Morales Toia says:

3/13/12 10:32 AM



Please consider professional counseling support for coping with it and improving parenting, and also for him to develop more assertiveness and make necessary changes. I would suggest individual sessions for him to work on this issue and collateral-family sessions for you to work on parenting, communication and an action plan to make things work better for all of you.






10:31 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:31 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




10:31 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:32 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




10:32 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:33 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




10:33 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




Rafael Morales Toia says:

3/13/12 10:35 AM



The huge risk of that is that you end fooling yourself believing it is not as bad as other unhealthy addictions, so enabling what is already dysfunctional. Remember, this issue is pushing you to awake to reality and face the fact that you have spoiled your son, and that is truly serious , and goes beyond a game-internet addiction, that’s what I call a potential for psycho-emotionally disable person since unable to hold accountability, respect and consider other peoples’ feelings and to choose in assertive ways without external pressure. This is what spoiling into young adulthood leads to.






10:34 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




10:34 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




10:34 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has entered this chat!




10:35 AM


Rafael Morales Toia has stepped out of this chat.




Rafael Morales Toia says:

3/13/12 10:37 AM



You need to choose between keeping things the way they are, so no conflicts at all, everybody smiling now but then facing serious life issues in your son’s life as an adult or. Real but constructive conflicts now redirecting what is distorted so promoting the very ground for a healthy and fulfilled adult.












Rafael M.T.Therapist, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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